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Theatrical poster
Directed by Larry Charles
Produced by Bill Maher
Jonah Smith
Palmer West
Starring Bill Maher
Distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment
Release date(s) October 1, 2008 (NY and LA)
October 3, 2008 (limited)
Running time 101 min
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2,500,000[1]
Gross revenue $11,478,638[2]

Religulous (IPA: /rɨˈlɪdʒʊləs/) is a 2008 American comedy/documentary film written by and starring political comedian Bill Maher and directed by Larry Charles. According to Maher, the title of the film is a portmanteau derived from the words "religion" and "ridiculous"; the documentary examines and satirizes organized religion and religious belief.[3]


[edit] Contents

A range of views on the various world religions are explored as Bill Maher travels to numerous religious destinations, such as Jerusalem, the Vatican, and Salt Lake City, interviewing believers from a variety of backgrounds and groups, including a former member of Jews for Jesus, Christians, Muslims, former Mormons,[4] and Hasidic Jews.[5][6][7] He travels to Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park, London and satirically preaches Scientology beliefs.[8][9]

[edit] Interviews

[edit] Production

Maher stated he used a fake title for the film to obtain interviews: "We never, ever, used my name. We never told anybody it was me who was going to do the interviews. We even had a fake title for the film. We called it 'A Spiritual Journey.' It didn't work everywhere. We went to Salt Lake City, but no one would let us film there at all."[12] Creationist Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, who appeared in the movie,[11] was critical of what he called Maher's "deception" to obtain the interview.[13][10]

The documentary was produced by Thousand Words and is being distributed by Lionsgate. Originally slated for an international release date coinciding with the Christian Easter holiday 2008 (March 23), post-production delays resulting from a screenwriters guild strike pushed the release date back to July 11, 2008.[14] The movie was released on October 3, 2008.[15]

[edit] Box office

Religulous had an opening weekend take of $3.5 million from an early October 1 release in LA and NY and also a limited 502 theater release, averaging $6,972 per theater making it #10 in the box office that weekend. Its per-screen receipts were almost three times those of a competing film to which it has been compared in the media, the politically conservative An American Carol,[16][17][18][19] which actually edged out Religulous to finish at #9 over the same weekend, but had a per theater average of only $2,325.[20][21] Only the #1 movie, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, at $9,020, had a higher per-screen average than "Religulous".[22][23]

For the second weekend, Religulous had a 35.5% drop in box office receipts and dropped to #13 with a gross of $2,200,000 at 568 theaters for a per screen average of $3,873.[24]

To date, Religulous has grossed over $13 million after having a production budget of $2.5 million. It is currently 7th among the top 10 highest grossing documentaries in the US and is the highest grossing documentary of 2008.[25]

[edit] Reception

Reviews for Religulous were generally positive, with some mixed negative reviews. The film received a "Fresh" rating of 71% from Rotten Tomatoes based on 99 reviews,[26] and a "mixed" score of 55 out of 100 at Metacritic based on 29 reviews.[27] Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film a rating of three and a half out of four stars, and wrote: "I report faithfully that I laughed frequently. You may very well hate it, but at least you've been informed. Perhaps you could enjoy the material about other religions, and tune out when yours is being discussed. That's only human nature."[28]

Robert W. Butler of The Kansas City Star gave the film a rating of three stars, and commented: "The film is one-sided, less a measured argument than a bunch of rants and barbed observations. But it’s also very funny, which trumps everything else."[29] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a rating of A-, and wrote: "The movie is funny as...well, hell."[30] The Canadian Press said the movie "delivers a laugh-out loud attack on the most sacred of cows."[31] Christie Lemire, of the Associated Press, wrote: "If you're an atheist or an agnostic, you'll be completely on board and happy to tag along with Maher as he travels the globe asking people about their faith - everywhere from Jerusalem to the Vatican to Amsterdam, where he finds not only the Cannabis Ministry but also a Muslim gay bar (with two people in it)."[32] John Anderson of Newsday wrote: "much that's funny, insightful and thought-provoking. But it certainly doesn't give the religious a lot of slack."[33]

Rick McGinnis of Metro gave the film low marks, concluding that "Maher is preaching to the choir with an undisguised dishonesty that only the true believers will forgive."[34] James Berardinelli wrote, "If the subject of religion is as important to Maher as he claims during his end comments, then he should have followed those words with actions and made a movie that's more than a sum of inauthentic interviews, ranting attacks, and obvious observations. The choir may hum along with Maher but the rest of those watching this movie will be singing the blues."[35] Nick Schager of Slant Magazine called it an "atheistic wannabe-dissection of modern faith."[36]

In a review for The New York Times, Stephen Holden wrote that "the movie has the same loose, on-the-road structure" as Larry Charles' previous film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan and commented: "Much of Mr. Maher’s film is extremely funny in a similarly irreverent, offhanded way."[37] Claudia Puig of USA Today wrote: "those with a taste for irreverent humor and clear-eyed analysis will find it funny, enlightening and disturbing."[38] Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter characterized the film as "An often hilarious but relentlessly shallow attack on religious fundamentalism by humorist Bill Maher".[39] Louis Peitzman of the San Francisco Bay Guardian wrote that "It doesn't even matter that he goes out of his way to be offensive, as he's consistently funny enough to pull it off."[40] Scott Indrisek wrote at that: "Religulous earns many of its laughs from skillful editing, with Maher's interviews jazzed up by video clips".[41] Ben Kenigsberg of Time Out New York gave the film a rating of three out of six stars, and wrote: "The worst scenes in Religulous are appalling for their methods; the best are appalling for their information."[42]

[edit] DVD release

Lions Gate released the film on DVD February 17, 2009.[43] Special Features on the DVD include a commentary with Bill Maher and Director Larry Charles, deleted scenes, and extended Bill Maher monologues from around the world that were either edited down or not included in the film at all. No announcements have been made about the film being released on Blu-ray yet, or if and when it will air on premium television channels such HBO (the home of Real Time with Bill Maher), however it is currently available on pay-per-view.

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Religulous - Box Office Data, Movie News, Cast Information". The Numbers (Nash Information Services, LLC). 2008. Retrieved on 2008-10-09. 
  2. ^ "Religulous - Box Office Data, Movie News, Cast Information". The Numbers (Nash Information Services, LLC). 2008. Retrieved on 2008-10-09. 
  3. ^ King, Larry (August 20, 2008). "Bill Maher Discusses Religulous on Larry King". Larry King Live (CNN). 
  4. ^ Means, Sean (2008-10-2). "Review: Maher takes on religion but sounds like he's preaching to the agnostic choir". Retrieved on 2008-10-18. 
  5. ^ Schaefer, Stephen (September 29, 2008). "Bill Maher takes politically incorrect look at faith in ‘Religulous’". the edge (Boston Herald). Retrieved on 2008-05-14. 
  6. ^ Powers, Thom. "Religulous: A Conversation with Bill Maher and Larry Charles". Toronto International Film Festival Group. Retrieved on 2007-09-10. 
  7. ^ Hemingway, Mollie Ziegler (September 18, 2008). "Look Who's Irrational Now". The Wall Street Journal (Les Hinton). Retrieved on 2008-10-01. 
  8. ^ Moore, Roger (October 1, 2008). "Movie review: 'Religulous' -- 4 out of 5 stars". The Orlando Sentinel.,0,4421023.story. Retrieved on 2008-10-01.  4/5 stars
  9. ^ Slotek, Jim (October 3, 2008). "Anti-religion film not risky enough". CANOE - JAM! Movies (Canoe Inc). Retrieved on 2008-10-03. 
  10. ^ a b Ham, Ken (2007-02-07). "HBO’s Bill Maher and the plot to deceive AiG". Answers in Genesis. Retrieved on 2008-10-04. 
  11. ^ a b Cusey, Rebecca (October 1, 2008). "Maher takes on religion, but some interviewees cry foul". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved on 2008-09-31. 
  12. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (August 7, 2008). "Bill Maher hates your (fill in the blank) religion". The Big Picture (Los Angeles Times). Retrieved on 2008-10-01. 
  13. ^ Fletcher, Jim (2007-04-16). "Creation Museum's 1st visitor? Bill Maher". WorldNetDaily. Retrieved on 2008-10-04. 
  14. ^ Sciretta, Peter (Content Producer) (August 18, 2007). "Bill Maher’s Religion Documentary aims for Easter Release Date". /Film ( Retrieved on 2007-09-10. 
  15. ^ Miller, Winter (May 11, 2008). "'Religulous' shifted to October". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved on 2008-05-14. 
  16. ^ Phillips, Michael (Chicago Tribune) (October 3, 2008). "For the right wing, 'An American Carol'". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved on 2008-10-09. 
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Germain, David (October 6, 2008). "Audiences adopt 'Chihuahua' with $29M weekend". Associated Press. Retrieved on 2008-10-09. 
  21. ^ McClintock, Pamela; Tatiana Siegel (October 6, 2008). "Political season hits its peak". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved on 2008-10-09. 
  22. ^ "Box Office Mojo Weekend Box Office October 3-5, 2008". Box Office Mojo (Box Office Mojo, LLC). October 6, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-10-09. 
  23. ^
  24. ^ "October 10–12, 2008 Weekend". Box Office Mojo (Box Office Mojo, LLC). 2008. Retrieved on 2008-10-16. 
  25. ^ "Religulous (2008)". Box Office Mojo (Box Office Mojo, LLC). October 19, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-10-16. 
  26. ^ "Religulous". Rotten Tomatoes (IGN Entertainment, Inc). 2008. Retrieved on 2008-10-04. 
  27. ^ Staff (2008). "Religulous - Lionsgate". Metacritic (CNET Networks, Inc). Retrieved on 2008-10-04. 
  28. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 2, 2008). "Religulous". Chicago Sun-Times ( Retrieved on 2008-10-02.  3.5/4 stars
  29. ^ Butler, Robert W. (October 2, 2008). "‘Religulous’". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved on 2008-10-02.  3/4 stars
  30. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (October 1, 2008). "Religulous (2008)". Entertainment Weekly (Entertainment Weekly and Time Inc).,,20230120,00.html. Retrieved on 2008-10-02. 
  31. ^ Staff (September 20, 2008). "Bill Maher travels the globe challenging religious belief in 'Religulous'". The Canadian Press. Retrieved on 2008-05-14. 
  32. ^ Lemire, Christie (Associated Press) (September 29, 2008). "Maher preaches to choir with religion film". The Salt Lake Tribune (MediaNews Group). Retrieved on 2008-10-01. 
  33. ^ Anderson, John (September 28, 2008). "Bill Maher questions religion, God in 'Religulous'". Newsday (Newsday Inc).,0,4460986.story. Retrieved on 2008-05-14. 
  34. ^ McGinnis, Rick (October 3, 2008). "Religulous (film review)". Metro (Canada). Retrieved on 2008-10-06.  2/5 stars
  35. ^ Berardinelli, James (2008). "Religulous - A movie review by James Berardinelli". ReelViews Movie Review ( Retrieved on 2008-10-01. 
  36. ^ Schager, Nick (September 20, 2008). "Slant Magazine Film Review: Religulous". Slant Magazine ( Retrieved on 2008-05-14. 
  37. ^ Holden, Stephen (October 1, 2008). "Believers, Skeptics and a Pool of Sitting Ducks". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved on 2008-10-01. 
  38. ^ Puig, Claudia (September 30, 2008). "'Religulous' mirthfully heaps scorn on the faithful". USA Today. Retrieved on 2008-10-01. 
  39. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk (September 4, 2008). "Film Review: Religulous". The Hollywood Reporter (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). Retrieved on 2008-10-01. 
  40. ^ Peitzman, Louis (September 30, 2008). "Film listings". San Francisco Bay Guardian. Retrieved on 2008-10-01. 
  41. ^ Indrisek, Scott (September 30, 2008). "Maher's Believe It or Not". CondéNet. Retrieved on 2008-10-01. 
  42. ^ Kenigsberg, Ben (October 2, 2008). "Religulous (2008)". Time Out New York (Time Out Group Ltd). Retrieved on 2008-10-02.  3/6 stars
  43. ^ "Religulous DVD / Home Video". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on February 28, 2009. 

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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